Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sunset Peak

Trailhead: Catherine's Pass trailhead (elevation 9,379 ft.) from Albion Basin (Little Cottonwood Canyon)
Distance: 4.4 miles out and back.
Elevation at Sunset Peak: 10,648 ft

You know that feeling when you reach the top of a summit that you've work so hard to reach? That feeling of elation, joy, and accomplishment? And then that feeling of looking further down the trail only to realize you haven't actually reached the the actual summit yet? That in fact, you are standing on a false summit, and the  actual summit is still about 0.4 miles and 600ft ahead of you. What a bummer. In my defense the sign at the Catherine Pass junction said "Sunset Pass: 0.3 miles",  and the 'peak' on which I was standing was 0.3 miles from that sign. What I had obviously overlooked, was the word 'Pass'. Its the little things that can do you in. So, feeling a little deflated,   I sat down where the Sunset Pass trail met The Great Western Trail and ate lunch, staring at the seeming long climb ahead.

The Great Western Trail stretches approximately 4,455 miles through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana; nearly 1,600 miles of which traverses through Utah. As I sat and ate my lunch, I looked around and imagined what it would be like to have hike to here from Arizona, or even just from the Arizona/Utah border. I imagined what it would feel like to have trail legs again. How easy this climb would be. But I'm not through hiking, and I don't have trail legs anymore, so it was time to suck it up and move forward. The rest of the climb was tough but shorter then I had anticipated, taking about 15 minutes to reach the summit from the pass.

From the top I had excellent views of Lake Catherine, Lake Martha, and Lake Mary (collectively refereed to as the 'Brighton Lakes'). At 10,648 ft. the wind was chilly and I didn't have a jacket. So after a few quick photos I made my way back down the trail, making a mental note to start bringing a jacket so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor in the future.

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